Schnitzel mit mir machen!
- Veal (the Viennese option), pork, or chicken breast
- Eggs (typically 1 per 3 cutlets)
- Bread crumbs (how to make them here: Semmelbrösel); fine bread crumbs are authentic; panko, or combine both, for a twist
- All-purpose flour
- Milk (optional)
- Salt, pepper
- Neutral oil (i.e. sunflower, vegetable oil, etc.)
- Serve with lemon wedges
- Equipment: pot or deep pan, tongs, mallet
- Butterfly or halve the cutlet, or cut thin slices if coming from a large, whole cut.
- With a mallet (or heavy item), pound the meat thin on both sides.
- Set up your dredging station:
- Authentic: seasoned with salt & pepper
- Very well beaten, (optional: with a dash of milk, to stretch your eggs)
- Bread crumbs
- Authentic: plain;
- Unauthentic: season the bread crumbs INSTEAD of the flour with salt and pepper (and with garlic powder and paprika, if you wish)
- Coat the meat in the flour, pressing into the crevices and shaking off excess.
- Dip the meat into the beaten eggs, making sure it has been entirely covered, and allow the excess to drip off.
- Lastly, press the breadcrumbs into the meat on both sides. Again, shake off any excess.
- Choose whether you will fry the meat in a deep pan or a pot (I prefer to fry the meat in a pan. It uses less oil and crisps the meat so beautifully. In a pot, you have the effect of deeper frying as the meat becomes submerged.)
- Heat either your pot or pan, adding the oil once heated;
- To test if the oil is ready, flick a few droplets of water into the oil, and if it pops, you are ready;
- It shouldn’t bubble too violently, just at a sizzle in order to let the meat cook through. If it is too hot, remove the pan from the burner or lower the heat.
- Place the meat into the pot or pan, 1 or 2 pieces at a time. Do not crowd the space: it is better to do one at a time rather than allow the meat to fry too close together.
- Flip once golden brown underneath, and remove once it is done on both sides. Remove and place over a paper towel to soak off excess oil; you can turn the oven on low, place a paper towel in an oven-safe dish, and keep your schnitzel warm here until the frying is completed.
Serve with lemon wedges. Austrian potato salad and cucumber salad are always encouraged. Citrus and acidity best complement the schnitzel.
Authentic Austrian Schnitzel is as simple as that. My mother-in-law taught me the process last year and we enjoy it often as a family. It’s a great family meal, although it’s simple to make for one or two people. Leftovers are the greatest – they make an incredible sandwich (on a Semmel roll, if you want to stick to the Austrian theme).